Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

Which School Calendar is Correct? (And Other Useful Stuff)

Unfortunately, the nice shiny full-color calendar that came in the welcome packets contains several mistakes, including these omissions for dates that are coming up this fall:

  • Monday, October 14, Columbus Day, is a student holiday/professional day for traditional calendar schools
  • Tuesday, November 5, Election Day, is a delayed opening

The ACPS Communications office is working on a flyer to go home that indicates the additional days off and a few other corrections to the calendar.  They will also post a revised version on the website that can be downloaded and printed. In the meantime, here is the correct version of the traditional calendar: http://www.acps.k12.va.us/calendars/calendar-2013-2014-traditional.pdf.

Middle-School Honors Language Arts

Following up on my last post about changes to middle-school honors language arts, parents will receive more information on Wednesday at the GW and Hammond Back-to-School Nights, and you can quickly get one-page summaries of the curriculum for every subject by grade level here:  https://acps.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-1029961-dt-content-rid-972864_4/xid-972864_4

In addition, GWMS 1 English/Language Arts department chair Claire Given asked me to give a shout out to Suzanne Richardson, who led the teacher training session for 6th grade, and Samantha Ives for 7th grade.  Megan Moos also collaborated on the 6th grade.  All of these teachers are in GW1 and were selected because increased challenge in their honors classes had been noted in observations.

Upcoming Program on School Enrollment Growth

If you’re not attending a back-to-school night on Wednesday, September 11, consider coming to the Alexandria PTA Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.  The Long-Range Educational Facilities Plan (LREFP) work group, a joint effort of city staff and ACPS, will be giving a presentation called “Recent Growth in Alexandria’s School Enrollment: The New Normal?” This presentation documents the recent enrollment growth and the key indicators that are continuing to show growth for the future. The goals of the LREFP work group are to improve facilities planning, accommodate the growing student population and enhance educational programs and services (www.alexandriava.gov/68540).

Go Local for School Supplies

Shopping for school supplies this weekend?  Locally-owned Del Ray Variety (203 E. Custis Avenue) has a great selection, and unlike Target, hasn’t already packed up school supplies to make room for holiday decorations. Plus, if you mention Maury Elementary PTA at check-out, the store will make a donation to the school.

Worth Reading

I particularly enjoyed Tracy Grant’s column in the Washington Post Local Living section this week  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/let-teachers-do-their-jobs/2013/09/03/48c65e66-0db2-11e3-85b6-d27422650fd5_story.html).  She makes a convincing case for being involved–but not meddling–in your child’s education, and for training your children to be their own advocates in the classroom.

Also, WTOP ran a nice report on Thursday about MacArthur Elementary teacher Beverly Vick’s popular American Girl doll club (http://www.wtop.com/1226/3441846/Not-about-retail-American-Girl-teaches-life-lessons).

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